The White House on Sunday announced its support for Israel’s missiles on Gaza as the right to defend itself after rockets were fired from the strip into Israel by Salafist groups (IS supporters).
“Clearly the U.S. stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest, accompanying President Barack Obama at a G7 summit in Germany, Haaretz reported.
A Salafist group calling itself the Omar Brigades, adopted the operative Saturday night. The group said it would not abide by an informal truce agreed between Hamas and Israel after last summer’s 50-day Gaza war, adding that that the rockets were a reminder to Hamas that Israel, not the Salafists, were “the enemy.”
The rockets fired from Gaza were a response to Hamas’ crackdown on them, pressuring it to bind to their demands through Israel.
In response, Israel Air Force struck sites for Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed resistance wing of Hamas, in northern Gaza Strip overnight.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also ordered the closure of both the Erez and Karm Abu Salem border crossings between Israel and the Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries in several locations in the south during the past week following several incidents of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory.
The Salafists in Gaza last Tuesday issued Hamas a 48-hour deadline to stop its crackdown on them, the Associated Press reported. On the same day, Hamas security forces killed an activist of a rival militant group in a shoot-out at his Gaza home, witnesses said.
The current tensions between the two groups began on May 3, when Hamas destroyed a mosque belonging to a group known as the “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem.”